Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Crunch time for Pakistan

December 16, 2009 was a day of celebration for Pakistanis. The 17 judges of Pakistan’s Supreme Court had unanimously struck down the abominable presidential ordinance NRO, popularly known as the National Robbers Organisation though its creators, the wretched Musharraf in collaboration with his foreign backers, had given this national disgrace an altogether more lofty title. People rejoiced as they sensed deliverance from the clutches of corrupt and greedy rulers, the blood sucking vampires who wallowed in obscene wealth and luxury amid the widespread poverty of Pakistan. Following the Supreme Court’s decision the vampires looked shaken and ashen faced as they sat hugging their seats of power.

The question that was uppermost in people’s minds was one of justice being seen to be done. Is it possible for an accused minister to prosecute himself fairly? The expectation was that all those accused of criminal acts would resign and defend themselves in court - they would resume their duties only if they were declared innocent.

A few days later the situation looks quite different. Sensing the discomfort of the vampires who faithfully serve American interests, the American ambassador in Pakistan is said to have swung into action. The Pakistani press has commented on the meetings she has held with various politicians - possibly to breathe new life into the anaemic vampires and fortify them with a potent dose of fresh blood. We now hear that our billionaire president and ministers have declared themselves to be innocent and they are casting aspersions on the motives of the Supreme Court judges. No one is resigning, and it is implied that the Supreme Court’s decision to declare the corruption-sustaining ordinance null and void is a politically motivated act!  

Pakistan’s second largest political party, which had campaigned for an independent judiciary earlier this year and had played a pivotal role in the restoration of the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, is strangely silent. It is said that it now regrets having campaigned for an independent judiciary, which has turned out to be exactly that: truly independent, above politics and beholden to no one. The opposition leader is said to be fearful that if he lends his support to those who seek fair and open trials for the vampires in powerful government posts then those vampires will hit back and give him as good as they get (yes, his reputation for similar orgies of blood sucking in the past refuses to lie down).

Things seem to be heading towards a mighty showdown between the judiciary and the government. This is the last thing we need at a time of grave danger to the very existence of Pakistan when terrorist acts of the utmost savagery are common and Pakistan’s armed forces have their hands full fighting foreign-backed rebels and mercenaries in Swat, South Waziristan and the adjoining tribal areas.

In the meantime, the Americans are piling on pressure for Pakistan to “do more” when it is already fully stretched and is hardly in a position to fight the Afghan Resistance against the Americans. The USA forces have lost fewer than 1000 lives in Afghanistan while Pakistan’s army has lost well over 20,000 officers and javaans. The wave of terrorism in Pakistan’s cities in the last two months alone has resulted in 500 deaths while the spate of illegal drone attacks in Waziristan has caused the deaths of hundreds, possibly thousands, of innocent citizens. According to Jeremy Scahill, an American investigative journalist who revealed the covert CIA/military operations in Pakistan in his breathtaking article ‘Blackwater’s Secret War in Pakistan’, “drone strikes are sometimes done with very little regard for how many civilians may die in the pursuit of one ‘bad guy’ - in fact, my military intelligence source said to me if there’s one guy we’re trying to hit and there are 34 other people in the building, 35 people are going to die that day.” Can you imagine anything more chilling than this? So much for the “civilized” and “humanitarian” Americans! Pakistani lives are dirt cheap while a great hue and cry goes up each time an American soldier dies in Afghanistan in pursuit of the selfish designs of the USA government!

As a result of revelations by American investigative journalists, and the evidence collected by Pakistan’s army in Swat and South Waziristan, there appears little doubt that the USA and India are pursuing a policy of destabilising Pakistan. Another journalist, Seymour Hersh, has gone so far as to say that a team of American commandos is already in Pakistan with the sole object of taking possession of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal once the country is sufficiently destabilised.  

Any remaining doubts about American designs on Pakistan have been removed by Declan Walsh’s article in ‘The Guardian’ on 21 December, 2009. The article recounts the revelations of a former NATO officer talking about the USA military’s clandestine raids on Pakistani territory. Walsh quotes his source as saying, “The Pakistanis were kept entirely in the dark about it. It was one of those things we wouldn't confirm officially with them"!

In addition to the ongoing war between the Pakistani state and the collection of rebels and mercenaries known as ‘Pakistani Taliban’, trained and funded by foreign powers, two further scenarios of immense importance to Pakistan appear to be taking shape:

1.  1.  A confrontation between Pakistan’s Judiciary and the Executive, the latter enjoying the support of foreign elements.
2.  2.  A two-fold confrontation between the USA military and Pakistan’s armed forces: one, as the American drones attack a major city, Quetta, allegedly to wipe out what the Americans call “the Quetta Shura”, there will be tremendous pressure on our armed forces to shoot down the drones; two, as the USA’s “troops surge” translates into raids into Pakistani territory, Pakistan’s armed forces will be forced to retaliate.

Monday, December 7, 2009


BLACK FRIDAY, 4 December 2009

As Pakistan lurches from one crisis to another there is a tendency for Pakistani newspapers and websites to concentrate mainly on single issues of immediate importance. Self-styled pundits become obsessed with the symptoms of various ills that beset Pakistan today while the root causes are left untouched. Following the massacre in a Rawalpindi mosque during the Friday prayers on 4 December, one Pakistani website lamented “Why, one asks, why? Why do they hate us so?” (“they” in this context is supposed to refer to fellow Pakistanis generally referred to as ‘Taliban’ while “us” refers to the privileged Pakistani middle class!). Sounds familiar? Yes! This rhetorical question was coined by the "crusader" George Bush, and his gang of Neocons, in relation to the Muslims!

Let us turn the question around and ask ourselves: what has the class of privileged Pakistanis done to make others love itself? If we were honest with ourselves we would have to say: very little. To put it bluntly, we have a system in Pakistan which is unable to provide justice and equality for all and it is universally reviled for its pervasive corruption, moral and financial. The irony is that we have given our country the title "Islamic Republic of Pakistan" while the social system we have is the very antithesis of Islamic teachings. Worse, we are a people devoid of self-esteem, ignorant of our history and traditions, and ever willing to learn parrot-fashion what foreigners choose to teach us in their language! Little wonder that we despise our own people and we cling to the language and culture of those who had ruled over us once.

In my opinion our “Taliban” problem is essentially a social problem, which has taken on a religious hue. The genie of Taliban was spawned by the stark contrast between widespread poverty of ordinary people and the brazen acquisition of wealth by those who found themselves in positions of power - the politicians, the bureaucrats, and the senior commanders of our armed forces. It is unthinkable that the madrassahs, dispensing a degraded form of Islamic teachings which defy common sense, would have flourished but for rampant injustice and poverty in the “Islamic Republic” of Pakistan.

Since we specialise in hating the Jews, let us take a quick look at their performance. In the diaspora they were lost souls, detested and loathed by all. Then they somehow got hold of a piece of land they called Israel and they never looked back. They revived a dead language, Hebrew, created a strong sense of identity and grew exponentially, culminating in the establishment of a feared nuclear power that can treat the only acknowledged superpower in the world with contempt.

We Pakistanis, on the other hand, never tire of blaming others for our misfortunes. True, our weaknesses have been exploited and taken advantage of by others but the root cause of our ills remains our many flaws and imperfections.  We get what we deserve, no more and no less. That is how Allah addresses mankind in the Qur'an but we have shut our eyes to its Message and we have turned our Deen into a weird religion which is little more than a form of worship, the rites and rituals for which differ from sect to sect.    

Today we find ourselves in a position where the Americans and the Indians have got a stranglehold over our country by bringing in sophisticated weapons through the porous Pakistan-Afghan border and training/brainwashing the poor, dispossessed Taliban into a fearful fighting force. Pakistan at the moment is teeming with American mercenaries- the contractors supplied by the infamous corporation Blackwater/Xe Worldwide -apparently reporting to the USA embassy and to CIA agents operating in the country. 

We have no option left except to fight on two fronts: on the one hand, we have to confront the monster of Pakistani Taliban, created by the neglect of our corrupt middle class and the machinations of successive USA administrations (with Indians in tow); on the other hand, we have to destroy the network of Americans/Indians/Pakistani traitors within the country. If the latest atrocity of Black Friday does not open up our eyes, nothing will: six senior Pak Army officers and three Javaans killed, a retired Lt General wounded and the army officers’ children murdered in cold blood while praying.

Please click the link below to learn how desperate things have become. No less a personality than the American Ambassador in Pakistan is suspected of having bribed Pakistani officials to issue licenses for the import of illegal weapons for the use of Blackwater/Xe Worldwide contractors who are being used by the Americans in a wide range of defensive and offensive duties all over Pakistan.

While we follow a short-term strategy to control the Taliban menace and the in-house intrigues of foreigners and home-grown traitors, we also need to put into effect a long term strategy to remove the conditions which enable religious demagogues to influence impressionable young minds and push them in a direction that leads to a dead end. In between, we need a middle-term strategy of bringing to justice those who have destroyed Pakistan – financially, and in other ways. Starting with the NRO robbers, we need to work back and dispense justice to the great and the good who have ruled Pakistan in the past. Some, such as the American stooge Musharraf and his sidekick Shaukat Aziz, probably enjoy the protection and patronage of foreign powers but we need to assert our independence just as Israel has managed to do. If we fail to get rid of our terrible inferiority complex in relation to the Americans and the British, we will for ever be chided and cajoled by them to “do more” even though what we have done so far is far more than anybody else has been able to achieve.  Pakistan’s destruction in the cause of those countries’ interests means nothing to them.

For a long-term strategy to bring justice and equality of opportunity to ALL Pakistanis, please see my blog archive for October (“Pakistan’s colonial set-up” and “Islam spin”).


Websites run by effete members of Pakistan's westernised middle class are calling the Taliban "cowardly" while maintaining a respectable silence in relation to the mayhem unleashed by the Americans on Pakistan and Afghanistan. I left a comment at one of these websites today (8 December), which you can read below.

"Cowardly attacks"?!! What is cowardly about offering up your own life in pursuit of whatever rubbish you believe in? Please have the honesty to see things as they really are.

The Taliban are stupid, brainwashed, ignorant and utterly merciless BUT they are fearless and courageous beyond description.

The real cowards in all this are the hypocritical Americans who think nothing of stabbing a so-called friend in the back. The sooner we sever all links with the USA the better it will be for us.

Do you know that in all the years the Americans have been in Afghanistan fewer than one thousand USA soldiers have died? In the last few years alone Pakistan has lost more than 20,000 of our javaans and officers while the death toll for Afghans and Pakistani citizens runs into hundreds of thousands (possibly, a million). The cowardly Americans sit comfortably in their remote military bases in the USA and play vile video games with human lives, raining down drones on Pakistanis and Afghans, which mostly kill innocent citizens - which the heartless Americans dismiss contemptuously as "collateral damage".

Wake up Paki middle class before the inferno of Civil War that the duplicitous Americans have gifted us destroys you and your families. No more drones: we'll fight our fellow Pakistani rebels in our own way. Get the American marines, the CIA agents, the mercenaries, "trainers" and an army of "diplomats" out of the country. And ask them just one simple question:

WHY ARE YOU IN AFGHANISTAN? (and brace yourself for a torrent of lies and abuse)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pakistan's Pakistani "friends"

Pakistani's extraordinary article on BBC's website

On 24 November, 2009 the BBC published an article by a Pakistani writer Ahmed Rashid. If you are not told the author's name you would probably think it comes straight out of the USA's propaganda machinery. This article is noteworthy for wanton distortion of facts and for defending the interests of the USA and India at the expense of Pakistan's. My e-mailed a reply to BBC was:

The author seems quite ill informed and biased. His lack of intellectual honesty shows through in many of his comments, especially his reference to a "retired senior army officer" claiming that Hakimullah Mehsood has been whisked to safety by the Americans. This "officer" is none other than General Mirza Aslam Beg, the Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan Army, 1988-1992. He enjoys considerable prestige and is acknowledged to have reliable contacts in the Army and elsewhere. His claim is that the USA has been playing a double game against Pakistan which, I think, is apparent from the chain of events over the past few years and the mass of evidence unearthed by the Pakistan Army this year. 

The action of Pakistan's armed forces in Swat and South Waziristan has resulted in the capture of huge quantities of weapons manufactured in India and the USA. The capture of rebels and mercenaries has revealed the extent to which non-Pashtun mercenaries from Afghanistan and elsewhere have infiltrated Pakistani territory with the active assistance of Indians and Americans who have flooded Afghanistan. 

The loud propaganda by India and the USA has drowned the truth to the extent that the evidence that Pakistan Army has presented to the world has been ignored. Pakistan's corrupt and weak government, which was imposed on the country by a secret deal put together by the USA, is beholden to its foreign benefactors and says little. In my opinion, a lot of Pakistan's problems stem from the USA's attempt to keep a firm hold on those who rule Pakistan: after the fall of the unspeakable Musharraf they are probably delighted to have found a near-clone Zardari. However, the USA'a grip on Pakistan's armed forces is no longer as strong as it was under Musharraf. The current Army Chief, General Kayani, seems to have a genuine desire to follow a strategy which, in his judgment, is in the interests of Pakistan. I think he has many enemies within the country and without and his room for manoeuvre is limited. 

That Pakistan is entitled to pursue policies that are in its own interests is a sentiment that is beyond the comprehension of people like Ahmed Rashid. The USA is pursuing its own interests in Central Asia - what is good for it is not necessarily good for Pakistan. And vice versa. Of the key personalities in Pakistan who have a hand on the reins of power, only General Kayani seems to understand this. But his freedom of action appears to be limited. You can read more in "An Open Letter to General Kayani" in my blog:

Dekha jo kha ke teer kamee.n gaah ki taraf
Apnay hi dosto.n se mulaaqaat ho ga'ee !


Apparently, the BBC did not have the courage to publish the most critical part of my response. It only published the first and the last paragraphs, leaving out the two middle ones. You can read the original article, and readers' comments, by clicking this link:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pakistanis with dual nationalities

Amreekani sues Pakistani newspaper 


Pakistan’s ambassador in the USA, Husain “Amreekani” Haqqani, is suing one of the most respected newspapers in Pakistan, The Nation, for Rs. 1 billion. Amreekani alleges “defamation” by The Nation for simply regurgitating a report  published in a USA magazine, possibly with Amreekani’s collusion. The Nation got wind of that report and revealed the details to Pakistanis – which was too much for the “USA’s ambassador in Pakistan’s embassy in Washington”. So the American publication is spared but The Nation will be hounded with a billion rupees legal suit!

Haqqani, I think, holds USA nationality in addition to Pakistan’s. He is far from an isolated case – Pakistan’s High Commissioner in the UK, and a number of ministers in the Pakistan government, are in the same boat. I would have thought it is downright common sense that appointing people with divided loyalties to highly sensitive posts is most unwise. Since they will be in a position to influence national policies, their flawed judgment will inevitably lead to a dilution of Pakistan's interests.
The horror stories of the damage that Pakistanis holding dual nationality have inflicted on the country are well known. These people have exploited their influential public positions and are believed to have siphoned off billions of dollars from Pakistan’s treasury and institutions and stored them in safe havens abroad.
Vohi jin ki tegh se ban gaya mera shehr maqtal-e-khoo.n fishaa.n

Sar-e-aam deeda-e-num liye vohi log noha-garo.n mein thay !

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Terrorism in Pakistan


Dear General Kayani,

Over a month ago, on 7 October, you issued a press release relating to the current security situation in Pakistan. I quote from the press release: “COAS reiterated that Pakistan is a sovereign state and has all the rights to analyse and respond to the threat in accordance with her own national interests.” In particular, the statement made a pointed reference to the clauses in the USA’s Kerry Lugar Bill – since signed by the USA president into that country’s  law – which compromised Pakistan’s security.

Over the last one month the security situation has, if anything, grown worse while our puppet of a government has accepted the American offer of “aid” with all of its humiliating conditions intact. In my view – which I believe is shared by countless Pakistanis - the increasing incidence of terrorism in the country has a causal link to our people’s, and our armed forces’, opposition to the American interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs. It is inconceivable that the Peshawar outrage, and the attack on the headquarters of the Pak Army, could have been mounted solely by a ragtag army of so-called “Taliban”. Clearly, a great deal of sophisticated planning lies behind much of the terrorist activity that is taking place currently to break the will of the Pakistani nation to resist the foreign stranglehold on our country.

Quite simply, our armed forces have to fight ALL terrorists. On the one hand, there are the so-called 'Taliban' and their foreign backers and, on the other hand, there lurks an equally deadly but elusive enemy: the armed mercenaries who roam the streets of our major cities (for example, Xe Services/Blackwater, under the guidance of their CIA handlers), the scheming, prying “armed diplomats” and, sad to say, the Pakistani collaborators in influential positions. If the action of our armed forces is limited only to South Waziristan we run a grave risk of being pushed into North Waziristan and made to fight the Americans' war there. Surely, the ISI has already collected a lot of evidence uncovering the foreign involvement in the terrorism that is spreading like a contagion?

It is high time, General Kayani, for you to issue another press release and to live up to the brave words of the earlier statement: “to respond to the threat in accordance with our own national interests”. There is an increasing realisation that the Waziristan action, taken in isolation, will lead us into an American trap from which it will be difficult to escape. There has to be parallel action in Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi, to free our people from the curse of foreign-inspired acts of terrorism.

TAILPIECE (20 Nov 09)

The Pak Army says little, Parliament's lips are sealed and the American presence in the country grows stronger! Here is an eye opener published in "The Nation" today:

Saturday, November 7, 2009

America captures Pakistani airwaves

News item, 7 November 2009 (summary copied from

Pakistan Cedes Media Control Over Waziristan?

A former Voice of America employee, now part of Pakistani government, hands over airwaves over the tribal belt to the Americans

After coming to power last year, one of the first things the new government did was appoint Mr. Murtaza Solangi, a Voice of America employee, as the head of Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation.  Mr. Solangi worked for Ms. Farahnaz Ispahani, who worked for VOA before getting a seat in the Senate of Pakistan representing the PPP government.  She is also the spouse of Mr. Husain Haqqani, Ambassador to Washington who is also the present government's undercover media guru [tasked with defending anything to do with Zardari and US].  Reorganizing Pakistani foreign policy and media policy were two things Mr. Haqqani focused at the start of his government's term.  Solangi, Ispahani and Haqqani do not represent the 'pro-US lobby' within the incumbent Pakistani government.  They are just the tip of the iceberg.  In our tribal belt, you can hardly catch the signals of PTV News, the state-run Pakistani channel, but Mr. Solangi deemed it appropriate to give VOA three transmitters to unleash US propaganda inside this small patch of Pakistan.  Mr. Solangi is a professional Pakistani journalist.  The problem with the deal he struck with VOA is that it expands US influence in a country that has too much of it, in an area where Pakistan's national security interest is already under attack from foreign elements in Afghanistan.


Whenever the Americans talk of "winning hearts and minds of people", read "brainwashing the ignorant fools". It is unfortunate that so many Pakistanis, especially those with dual nationalities and with close links with western countries, have chosen to collaborate with a foreign power that is spreading its tentacles far and wide into Pakistan. We cannot counter the invidious influence of such malcontents in our midst simply by writing articles. It is the job of our National Assembly to discuss national issues of importance. The Opposition, especially, is supposed to guard national interests by maintaining a watchful eye on the actions of the government. Why has the cabinet's capitulation to the Americans' demand to control the minds of Pakistanis in Waziristan not been challenged in Parliament? 'The Nation' (Pakistan's foremost English language newspaper), and other reputable journalists who are aware of the problem, need to lobby our representatives in Parliament and persuade them to debate the issue openly.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Islam spin

Conversations with a new breed of Pakistani Muslim

In August-September, 2009 I found myself having an argument with supporters of the Caliphate – Khilafat, Khilafah – movement and self-styled jihadis. They seemed obsessed with destroying the existing structures of government and society and replacing them with a ‘Caliphate system’, which would unite all Muslim countries under a single Caliph/Khalifah. The person with whom I mostly exchanged e-mails was fond of quoting extensively from the Qur’an and from a subjectively defined concept of Sunnah imported from an Arab Sheikh. The Quraanic quotations were often misapplied, having little relevance to the topic under discussion. These people tended to assume that anyone who opposed their views was an American sympathiser. Therefore, the first thing they do is to seek one’s views on the USA government’s adventurism in the Middle East and Asia. Relevant extracts from the e-mail correspondence are given below. 
My views on the USA government’s involvement in Pakistan and the Middle East, and the situation in Pakistan generally:

The writing is on the wall in CAPITAL letters - everyone can see it very clearly. My comments are of little use as they will merely state the obvious: that Pakistan is now little more than a colony of the USA, which had installed the current Pakistani government in power to serve American interests.

The USA invaded Iraq on the pretext of that country possessing weapons of mass destruction. It staged the farce of 9/11, an 'attack on the USA by a group of Muslims living in Afghanistan' and invaded that country. The then government of Afghanistan had offered to try Osama bin Laden in a court of law of a neutral country but the USA had ignored that offer because it was busy destroying the evidence of the stage-managed attack on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon (all traces of the aircraft that supposedly took part in the attack have mysteriously disappeared - a criminal and illegal action for which the USA government ought to have been tried under USA laws). The USA government has since studiously avoided court proceedings against those it falsely accuses of terrorism because a trial in a court of law will uncover the shameful deeds of the USA Establishment. So far America has killed more than 2 million Iraqis and Afghanis - fewer than 3 thousands had died in the 9/11 self-inflicted wound - and it has now extended the killing spree to Pakistan.

Pakistan's national inferiority complex

It is not just that our government is composed of toadies and yes-men, the sad truth is that the whole Pakistani nation is suffering from a deeply ingrained inferiority complex in relation to the Americans and the British. Their language has become the de facto national language in which affairs of the state are conducted while our own language is treated with contempt. This has resulted in power being concentrated in some 5% of the population of the country, which has managed to arm itself with an ‘English education'. We are thus keeping Pakistan as a developing country in perpetuity through wanton neglect of 95% of our intellectual capital because people educated in Urdu are denied the opportunities to utilise their inborn talents fully. This gives rise to gross injustice and inequality of opportunity. There is an easy solution: let us conduct all our affairs in elegant, graceful Urdu and stop expressing ourselves comically in English (it is never easy to master a foreign language - and it shows in the graceless, incorrect English which plagues our national life). 

Just look at this e-mail exchange. Can you imagine the Koreans and the Chinese sending e-mails back and forth in a foreign language? Sixty two years after independence we have failed to develop our language sufficiently to meet the demands of the modern age. Is it because our national inferiority complex has tied us too closely to the language and culture of our past and present colonial masters?

Our self-loathing extends to our cultural heritage as well. Do we know what Iqbal said about patriotism in relation to our country of birth and the requirements of the larger Muslim ummah? Iqbal's thoughts were an interpretation of the Quraanic Guidance - to understand that each of us just has to read and ponder over the Message of the Qur'an. There is no need to look for a Sheikh far and wide to tell us what we need to do. Our Guidance is within an arm's reach! Discover the treasure trove in your own backyard before you go hunting abroad.

Let us first deal with the evils that are to be found in our country of birth before we go looking for the utopia of a Khilafat. And don't forget that the Khilafat ended with Hazrat Ali - what came after was just dynastic monarchy, the son succeeding as king on the death of his father.

In a separate e-mail I had to elaborate further on the role of language in Pakistan because my references to Urdu were taken to be too ‘nationalistic’; I also had to clarify my understanding of Islam:

All I will say is we should sincerely try to understand the Guidance in the Qur'an according to our capacity and then put our understanding into practice to the best of our ability. Our understanding will remain subjective, depending on our character and inherent wisdom. Therefore, we should refrain from claiming that the way we have understood the Message is the only right way.

My references to Urdu are all in the context of providing justice and equality of opportunity to the 'have nots' of Pakistan. How do you expect 95% of Pakistanis to compete with people who first impose an alien language on them and then shamelessly rub salt into the wounds they have inflicted on the nation by having their children educated in the USA and the UK? The fact is we are criminally, insanely wasting 95% of our intellectual resources and, worse, turning the whole nation into robot-like slaves of the Americans. 

Allah has created different racial groups with their own languages. So long as we continue to live in the material world bounded by time and space, we derive much earthly pleasure from our local language and culture - to annihilate our essential characteristics as a nation will lead to subjugation, not freedom. Certainly, when we die and leave this world of matter our earthly differences will cease to exist. However, so long as we remain on earth we have to acknowledge the constraints under which we live. Once we learn to live as free and proud men and women it is possible for us to reach out to the rest of humanity and learn to live in harmony as one large human community. That, in my view, is what the essence of Islam is all about. It is a SYSTEM OF LIFE, it is NOT a mazhab. 

Take a look around you and try to improve the quality of life in your own community. When enough people have undergone an inner transformation, and changed their communities for the better, those communities will gradually draw together and coalesce seamlessly. For example, if Pakistanis and Afghans can somehow free themselves from subjugation to the Americans and become truly free men and women, I can foresee a time when those two countries may form a single political unit. 

Let us be realistic and proceed gradually. At the present time talking about the utopia of a Khilafat may make people feel good but that is about all, in my opinion.

Our views evolve over a lifetime and they are never static. The 'treasure trove in our backyard' from which I have gained much includes: Iqbal, Jinnah, Ghulam Ahmad Parwaiz (do read his 'Saleem ke naam khatoot' if you haven't already read it), Qudrat Ullah Shahab's 'Shahab Nama', Mumtaz Mufti ('Labbaik', 'Talash', 'Ali Pur ka Aeli', 'Alakh Nagri', etc ), Dr Shabbir Ahmed, and many more.

My interlocutor came back with an extremely long e-mail with all sorts of quotations and references, relevant and irrelevant. Below is a short extract from his e-mail:

Now Jihad is not just killing, for the war and battles Allah uses the word 'Qitaal' . Jihad is wider. Its the jihad of ideology , its the jihad of words and speech and mindsets . Why does our youth prefer being called a nigger from the west side , rather than a muslim or a millat e ibraheemi. A true Jihad would be like the division of labour. Some factions would be working to improve the knowledge of Quran in the Ummah. Some would be working against foreign ideas by fighting their ideologies through the power of pen and words . Some would be fighting physcially the army of taaghut. Some would be raising the funds for the activities etc.

You know this language issue that you have raised. I have hosted shows about it on Geo channel called urdu bol and lafanga, when i was a part of that system . But that is just the surface of the problem, muslims are always adviced to prefer hikmat and crush the stems rather cutting the leaves. Talking about language is akin to speaking about why people wear jeans and pants and not shalwar kameez . Kindly nullify the concept of a nation state, or being Pakistani from your mind, because that concept is alien to Islam. We are one nation. Zionists planned for more than 400 years to attain greater israel and were persistent in it . Remember they didnt have the help of ALLAH with them. If we want to establish a true Khilafah, we would have the help of Allah with us and the economically , socially and morally oppressed people counting 1.8 billion, why does this goal seem so far fetched . 

I can write volumes about these issues because they are personal to me and Allah is my HAADI, who has guided me to this path.”

My response was:

Your long reply to my last e-mail to you has an eerie quality about it, which defies common sense. I think it also contains statements which are inconsistent with the basic principles of Islam. The gulf between the worlds you and I inhabit is so vast that it cannot be bridged by means of an exchange of e-mails between us. My comments on your most recent e-mail are given below. I am also circulating my replies to your e-mails more widely in the hope that it will open up the discussion and draw in other participants.
I do not know why you have quoted from aayat 2:216 relating to ‘qitaal’. You should not quote selectively from the Qur’an – the full aayat or more than one aayat must always be quoted so that the context of a particular statement of the Qur’an is clear. So, would you please state the context in which you think your selected Quraanic statement applies.
Let me make it quite clear that, based on my understanding of the Qur’an, I consider suicide bombings for ANY purpose to be an unmitigated evil. On the other hand, to take up arms in defence of Allah’s Deen (His system of life), if it is attacked, is necessary. That is what the aayat is about. Now will you tell me where in the world today Allah’s Deen is practised? The vast majority of so-called ‘Islamic’ countries are steeped in corruption, exploitation, lies, deceit, rank injustice – in other words, these are all non-Islamic societies where a minority of pious Muslims survive one way or another. The wars that are fought today are not for DEEN – they are merely political wars.
In my last e-mail I commented on how Muslim communities can grow and unite. What I had said was: “Take a look around you and try to improve the quality of life in your own community. When enough people have undergone an inner transformation, and changed their communities for the better, those communities will gradually draw together and coalesce seamlessly. For example, if Pakistanis and Afghans can somehow free themselves from subjugation to the Americans and become truly free men and women, I can foresee a time when those two countries may form a single political unit. Let us be realistic and proceed gradually. At the present time talking about the utopia of a Khilafat may make people feel good but that is about all, in my opinion.”  Surely you have a responsibility towards other members of the community in which you live? 
In my last e-mail I had shown how the exploitative Pakistani society uses the language as a tool to keep the vast majority of Pakistan’s citizens in permanent subjugation. The language that all Pakistanis understand is Urdu but to make worldly progress they need to educate themselves in an alien language, which is beyond the capacity of most Pakistanis. Pakistan is thus deprived of some 95% of its talent that could have been used in nation building - which is the primary reason for the country being economically backward. Your reply is very odd indeed. You have made the following points:
·      “We learn English only for economic reasons”.
·      “Urdu is a lashkari language, it has adapted words from different languages to sustain”.
·      “Most of the people speak Minglish to express themselves”.
Yes, we learn English for SELFISH economic reasons to enrich ourselves at the expense of people who lack the resources to learn this alien language. There is no such thing as a ‘pure’ language. English has a huge number of foreign words: Latin, Greek, French, German, Italian, Spanish, etc – and yes, Arabic, Persian and Hindi as well. Urdu has evolved enormously and it has absorbed many words from other languages, including English. The fact that so many people speak ‘Minglish’ merely reinforces the point I made about exploitation: poor downtrodden Pakistanis have been conditioned into thinking that upward mobility is only possible through the medium of English. Therefore, when they speak ‘Minglish’ they are actually letting others know that they, too, possess some knowledge of English. Do we need more evidence to tell us that we have not been able to free ourselves from mental bondage to foreign masters?
Finally, you make the point that it is better to teach ‘Science’ in English rather than in Urdu. This is a sure recipe to keep Pakistan permanently incarcerated as a developing country. Learn from the experience of South Korea which rapidly developed its language to meet the needs of the modern era. Our inferiority complex kept us chained to English and we neglected to develop our language.  For the time being we must perforce carry on with English while making vigorous attempts to make Urdu a viable scientific language as soon as possible. That, in my opinion, is the only way to bring justice, equality of opportunity and long term prosperity to our people.  There is indeed an urgent need to reform our educational system and to create a level playing field for all.
At the risk of arousing your ire I would say that we can also learn much from the example of Israel, which breathed life into a dead language – Hebrew – and set it up as the national language. Unfortunately, that sort of pride and self-esteem is missing from us Pakistanis.
Our national inferiority complex has made us a laughing stock for foreigners. When Zardari was last in the USA no one took him seriously as he went about grinning from ear to ear and delivering such gems as ‘my democracy will deliver’. It would have been far better if he had proudly spoken in refined Urdu – of which he is quite capable – and let an interpreter translate for him. The unspeakable Karzai was actually given greater prominence than Zardari and this showed very clearly in the seating arrangements made for these two clowns.
Your reading in Urdu appears quite limited. I doubt if you understand the greatness of Iqbal and Quaid-e-Azam. You can at least read the latter’s speeches in English. Because of his noble character and the high ethical standards he followed, he stood head and shoulders above people like Mountbatten, Gandhi and Nehru (who initially ingratiated himself with the Mountbattens but ended up becoming much too familiar with his benefactor’s wife, Edwina – I’ll spare you the sordid details).
You have given me a lecture about the evils of nationalism! Why? Certainly, ‘my country right or wrong’ is an evil sentiment which all Muslims should abhor. However, Allah has created different nations and different languages – which is an undeniable fact. This has nothing to do with ‘internal divisions’ mentioned in 3:102-103, which you have quoted. You are misapplying Quraanic verses to support your own particular agenda. To derive enjoyment from the good things that Allah has given us – the beauty of our language, our music, our poetry – is perfectly natural. Not to do so is wrong because Allah does not like exaggerated piety.
Again, the quotations you have given from books of Rivaayaat (traditions) relating to ‘asbiyyat’ (prejudice) are misplaced and quite out of context. By the way, some of your quoted rivaayaat are offensive and extremely disrespectful to Rasul-e-Akram. You don’t seem to be aware that the enemies of Islam in the past – the Zoroastrians, the Jews and the Christians – and also the Muftis of pleasure-seeking Muslim kings (who called themselves ‘khalifah’) had forged many ‘ahadith’ and mixed them with genuine rivaayaat. In light of the lavish praise heaped on the character of Muhammad Rasul-Allah in the Qur’an, how can you possibly attribute the following vulgar statements to him?
"He who calls for `Asabiyyah’ is as if he bit his father's genitals"
“but in the sight of Allah they are more contemptible than the black beetle that rolls a piece of dung with its nose”
“If they do not give this up Allah (swt) will consider them lower than the lowly worm which pushes itself through Khara (dung)”
The books of Rivaayaat compiled by men who came from the conquered Persian empire contain many stories which contradict the verses of the Qur’an. You must exercise great care when quoting from these books. The Muslim world today has regressed into the pre-Islamic era of Jahiliyyat (Ignorance), but that is now called Islam! When will we emerge from this darkness?

Another extremely long reply came back. Extracts from my response are given below:  

I see that you have quoted a single aayat [2:216] dealing with ‘qitaal’ and ignored all the other jihadi aayaat. Let me quote what you said in a previous e-mail: “Now Jihad is not just killing , for the war and battles Allah uses the word 'Qitaal' . Jihad is wider, its the jihad of ideology, its the jihad of words and speech and mindsets”. OK, Nabeel, if you now want to concentrate on ‘qitaal’ then let us see what the Qur’an says about it.

Al-Hajj, [22:39]: Permission to fight is granted to those against whom war is wrongfully waged. And God is indeed Most Powerful for their support.

Al-Baqarah, [2:190]: So, fight in the Cause of God those who wage war against you, but do not commit aggression. Indeed, God does not love aggressors.
[2:191]: Subdue them regardless of their tribal affiliations, and drive them out of where they drove you out. For ‘fitna’ (persecution, terror, torture, oppression) is a crime even more grievous than killing. Do not fight against them near the Masjid of Security (a haven of amnesty) unless they attack you therein. But if they attack you there, then you shall fight against them. Such has to be the rebuttal of those who reject (the Standard of Peace).
[2:192]: And if they desist, then, remember that God is Forgiving, Eternal Source of Mercy.
[2:193]: Hence, fight them only until there is no more harassment, and Deen may be adopted for the sake of God alone. And if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against those who replace peace with aggression.
Now you can go back to [2:216] and ponder on its meaning afresh!
In the verses above Allah is speaking to you, Nabeel. Isn’t the meaning quite clear? Why do you ignore the words of Allah and listen instead to al-Jalalayn and Ibn Kathir? They were fallible human beings, we do not follow them, we obey Allah alone. You have claimed in your e-mail, “I am using the Quran only, because all other knowledge can be wrong” – I am sorry to say that, so far as I can see, you are following Messrs al-Jalalayn and Ibn Kathir, who are putting their own particular spin on the Quraanic Message.
So, the moral of this discussion is that we should never pluck out a verse from the Qur’an and run away with it. It is our sacred obligation to study all the verses which shed light on a particular subject and then come to a conclusion accordingly.
Next, let us look at the life of Rasul-e-Akram. For 13 years he and his companions quietly suffered intense persecution at the hands of the people of Makka but the Muslims did not hit back. Rasul-Allah was ‘Nazir’ and ‘Bashir’ and he carried on delivering the divine Message. Later, when Allah’s Deen had been established in Madina, and it was under threat from the Quraish, Rasul-Allah took up arms to defend the Muslim state.
My question to you is: where have you established a truly Muslim society which needs to be defended? You need to have the patience to undergo a period of inner purification and to establish Allah’s Deen (see my article on Islam for a definition of Islam/Deen) before you can start talking glibly about killing fellow human beings. You are only interested in imposing a ‘khilafat’ by force which, l am afraid, will create a fitna, leading to much bloodshed.
Point 2: Establishment of Deen/Islamic state
I am broadly in agreement with the earlier part of what you say. My introductory article was concerned with the essence of Islam. When it comes to implementation of Islam as a system we need to be careful. Remember that there is no compulsion in matters of Deen and each person living in the Islamic state has the freedom to pursue whatever system he/she prefers. If people are unable to see the excellence of Islam over other religions then we leave them alone – they remain our fellow citizens in an Islamic state.
Your swipe at Iqbal is quite uncalled for. Do point out to me where you consider Iqbal’s message to be deviating from the spirit of Islam.
Thereafter, it is difficult to follow your reasoning in the great mass of words that you have laid out.
Point 3: Pakistan and Afghanistan
You are attributing things to me which I have not said. Let me repeat my words for the SECOND time for you: “Take a look around you and try to improve the quality of life in your own community. When enough people have undergone an inner transformation, and changed their communities for the better, those communities will gradually draw together and coalesce seamlessly. For example, if Pakistanis and Afghans can somehow free themselves from subjugation to the Americans and become truly free men and women, I can foresee a time when those two countries may form a single political unit. Let us be realistic and proceed gradually. At the present time talking about the utopia of a Khilafat may make people feel good but that is about all, in my opinion.”
If we have patience and proceed gradually, we may find that more and more nominally Islamic countries are able to implement justice and equality for their people and they, too, may want to join any political union of truly Islamic countries that may have taken place. The desire has to come from the people, not imposed by know-alls who decide what is best for everyone. I repeat, that will lead to ‘fitna’ and much bloodshed.
Point 4: Emancipation from debt and foreign influence
So far as Pakistan is concerned why do you need ‘qitaal’ for this? The answer is simple. We need to learn self-reliance and put up with hardship for a period of years while saying ‘no’ to foreign debt. Also, tell the Americans in our country that they are not needed and they should leave. Our real problem is the corrupt politicians and military commanders. This is an internal problem, which can be solved with patient efforts over a number of years to educate and inform the ignorant Pakistani population, and implement justice and equality of opportunity (since most of our people do not understand English – which modern thinkers such as yourself have imposed on the country - they remain despised and in a state of terrifying ignorance).
There are foreign occupation forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is no justification for that presence which, in turn, justifies armed action for political reasons. Don’t drag Islam into it because, at the time of American invasions, neither Iraq nor Afghanistan could be described as an Islamic society as defined in the Qur’an.
Point 5: Khilafat
I reiterate: if you try to implement it by force you will create a ‘fitna’ and blood will be shed. Just let it evolve gradually over a long period of years as truly Islamic societies emerge in the world. To bring about khilafat eventually, you will need to work very hard with great patience in the meantime. You will need to emulate Rasul-e-Akram in your character traits, not outward appearance.
I am amused to read your claim that “these proletariats of the Ummah ardently desire that they join together and shatter the differences and be united so they can prosper collectively.” Really! When did you carry out a survey to ask their opinion? I can tell you that if you will care to go out and mix with the poor, downtrodden people of Pakistan, you will find that they are merely concerned with daily survival – they have neither the time nor the inclination to philosophise in such grandiloquent terms.

That was more or less the end of our discussion as a vast gulf appeared to separate our respective viewpoints.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pakistan's colonial set-up

An illusion of Freedom

Politically, Pakistan has been independent since 14 August 1947 but, in a deeper sense, it seems never to have enjoyed true freedom. The country's Establishment and the middle class servicing it, comprising at most less than 5% of the population, receive their education in English, much as they would have done under the British in the pre-1947 era. Consequently, much of the business of the state continues to be transacted in a similar manner to that the British had imposed on their subjects. Thus, the Pakistanis who have managed to arm themselves with an English education comprise the new Raj, lording over the remaining 95% of Pakistan's population educated in Urdu.

This continuation of an essentially colonial system has had a devastating effect on the Pakistani psyche and on the country's economic development. The exaggerated importance given to an alien language and, inevitably, the culture associated with it, has produced a Pakistani elite suffering from a deep-seated sense of inferiority. The people occupying seats of power tend to be shallow individuals: deficient in the knowledge of their own language, history and culture while their knowledge of the alien language and culture they so painstakingly study is little better. They assume a fawning attitude before the Americans and the British but act with extreme haughtiness towards fellow Pakistanis who lack the vulgar trappings of ill gotten wealth and power.

As for the effect of Pakistan's colonial system on its economic development, this is dealt with in the two e-mails below, which I exchanged with a well known columnist in a leading Urdu language newspaper of Pakistan.

First e-mail:

I agree with you that our progress over the last 62 years could have been more rapid. Certainly, it has been our misfortune to be saddled with the kind of leadership that we have had to endure for much of Pakistan’s brief history. I agree also that this has, indeed, been a significant factor in slowing down the growth of the country’s prosperity. However, I do not think that it is the root cause of our economic lethargy.

You have given examples of four countries whose economic growth has outstripped that of Pakistan, namely, China, Korea, Singapore and Malaysia. Of these, only the last two can be said to have benefited from inspirational leadership. China, in particular, was devastated and impoverished by the crazy policies of the tyrant Mao Zedong (if you have the time, do read the fascinating book “Wild Swans” by Jung Chang – a ‘must read’ if you have even a moderate interest in the sociological and political changes which have taken place in China over the last hundred years or so). It was only after Mao’s death that China’s rise as an economic powerhouse began.

Leaving aside the special case of tiny Singapore, which has a well educated, diverse population, I think that the main reason for the rapid growth of the other three countries was that they were able to harness the talent and genius of their populations by the simple means of spreading education in the language that people spoke. Thus, it was immaterial whether an unusually gifted child was born in a rich family or a poor family - that child had the opportunity to excel at studies and win recognition for his/her innate brilliance because the school examinations that the children had to take were conducted in the same language that they spoke. Contrast that with the situation in Pakistan.

We have a culture in Pakistan where, by and large, people refuse to recognize intelligence unless it is expressed through the medium of a language which is alien to the vast majority of Pakistanis. Our national psyche has been conditioned to such an extent that we consider a mediocre person speaking bad English to be more intelligent than a near genius from a poor background whose intelligence manifests itself only in Urdu. Like conceited peacocks we strut around flaunting the second-rate English that we speak and write. It is these mediocre people who then go on to occupy positions of influence and power while the real brainpower of the nation rots unrecognised because intelligence expressed in Urdu is not accepted as intellectual excellence!

In my opinion, it is this mental subjugation to our erstwhile colonial masters – and, indeed, to our current de facto colonial masters, the Americans – which is the greatest obstacle to our economic progress as a nation. Our national inferiority complex leads to criminal waste and destruction of our intellectual capital on a massive scale, affecting perhaps more than 95% of our population. The remaining 5% of the population, which is able to educate its children in the foreign language that dominates our national life, simply cannot produce able people in sufficiently large numbers to meet the needs of the country.

At one time China and South Korea were both categorised with Pakistan as ‘developing nations’ but they have since broken out of that straitjackjet while Pakistan has stood still. The reason is that those countries are able to call upon the whole of their available talent while we unfortunate Pakistanis depend, to a very large extent, on the 5% or so of “English educated” exploiting class. Try explaining the benefits of an “English education” to the Chinese and the Koreans - and the Japanese before them - who managed to develop their languages to a point where the whole population could participate in the development of the country! Both the Koreans and the Chinese were able to make full use of the intellectual resources of their respective countries because their ruling classes were not slavishly tied to an alien language and its byproduct, an alien culture.

In view of the past neglect of our national language it is now a practical need to continue teaching English to our children for the time being but we need to formulate an alternative strategy to develop Urdu and enable it to progressively replace English in an ever widening sphere of our national life. We must also take concrete steps to raise the status of Urdu in Pakistan. Here are some simple suggestions:

· the country’s leadership should adopt a simple rule to always address the nation in Urdu;

 · all official correspondence between members of the public and government departments/ institutions to be conducted in Urdu;

 · proceedings in a court of law, so far as possible, should take place in Urdu .

And so on! Wiser heads than mine can modify/add to these suggestions.

Second e-mail:

In my view, therefore, the spread of education in the national language within previously ill educated populations was the single most important underlying cause for the resurgence of the South East Asian "tigers". I think you hold the view that the primary cause was the leadership of the countries concerned.

China, Korea and Malaysia have reached very high literacy rates compared to Pakistan. We struggle because of our multi-faceted educational system and the chronic shortage of resources allocated to education (this is where leadership comes in - there has to be a political decision to allocate resources). In my last e-mail I said that the hold of the English language in our national life had resulted in 'good education' being confined to a small part of the population of Pakistan. A very high proportion of Pakistani parents - 95%? - lack the resources to provide quality education in a foreign language to their children. The Chinese, the Koreans and the Malaysians are free of this curse. They are able to provide quality education in their respective languages to a high proportion of their populations and they reap the rewards that flow from it: instead of the intellectual capital of the countries being neglected, it is utilised in the development of those countries.

Certainly, there are supplementary factors which play an important part as well. Here are some:

1. POLITICAL STABILITY/ LEADERSHIP. Once the Chinese realised that Mao's policies, culminating in the Cultural Revolution, had ruined China, a movement began to isolate Mao, his wife and other hangers on. Following Mao's death, the old guard lost influence, and Mao's opponents held the reins of power. In the case of Malaysia it was the leadership, typified by Mahathir Mohammad, that provided political stability and the emphasis on spread of education. The most remarkable case is that of South Korea which was totally destroyed by the Korean War. Since 1953, however, it has managed to transform itself into a modern state. I don't know enough about the country to pinpoint the precise causes of this renaissance. In general terms, spread of education and political and institutional stability must have been the principal factors behind this success story. We Pakistanis have wasted our years of independence serving foreign masters and getting the wealth of the country plundered by greedy and power hungry civilian and military dictators. Our unstable political system can, at best, be described as a fake democracy where the larger political parties are merely vehicles to serve the interests of a particular family or a privileged class. Elections are held only nationally, not within the so-called political parties. This system gives rise to weak institutions, social and economic injustice, and exploitation on a massive scale.

2. HISTORY and NATIONAL IDENTITY. Both the Chinese and the Koreans had suffered greatly at the hands of the Japanese. China had also been exploited by the Western powers. Both countries had a natural desire to grow strong as a nation and face their erstwhile oppressors from a position of strength. Their language, culture and traditions helped them fuse together as a nation. However, I do not think China has been very successful in this respect because its people are spread over a large area with significant racial differences; also, China has a history of enmity among its provinces. Korea and Malaysia have been more successful. We Pakistanis had a strong sense of identity in 1947 but that has long since disappeared. The voices of Iqbal and Jinnah have got lost in the mists of time and, after 62 years of "independence", we are anything but free. We look to the West as the fount of knowledge and wisdom and we have lost awareness of the treasure trove in our own backyard. We trample on our own national language and we swell with pride if we manage to pick up some English. Our DEEN, which the Qur'an tells us is One and indivisible, has been fragmented into scores of sects. We Pakistanis do not obey Allah, we obey leaders of various religious sects. In practice, we pay lip service to Islam but our actions belie our words. The Pakistani society can hardly be described as Islamic because DEEN has been replaced by mazhab, often a collection of meaningless rites and rituals laid down by the various sects. How do we define our national identity today?

3. CHARACTER TRAITS. I hate to say it but some groups of people do seem to be just lazy and content with the stagnant societies in which they live. Somehow they can't bring themselves to widen their knowledge, learn from the experience of others, try to improve their circumstances and move towards a nobler existence. This is a sensitive subject and I shan't say much more.

To summarise, my recipe for taking Pakistan to the status of a developed nation is:

· Rapid spread of education in a way that provides equality of opportunity for all.

 · Stable and fair political/economic system and strong institutions.

 · Sense of National Identity.

· Willingness to learn from others.

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